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“Mr. High School Sports” – Montour’s Krug Commendable in Near-Medal Effort

Cassidy Krug

(Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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By Matt Popchock

(mpopchock@kdka.com)

Twenty-seven-year-old Cassidy Krug, the most decorated diver in Montour High School history and a national champion at Stanford, fell just short in her quest to pick up an Olympic medal in the women’s three-meter springboard competition.

On a positive note, the top-ten finish by Krug, who ended the event in seventh place, ranks as one of the loftiest accomplishments ever by a WPIAL swimming/diving alumnus.

Having to execute a deliberately difficult routine amidst a particularly difficult field, Krug hung tough through the first four rounds, clinging to a third-place lead of less than two points entering her last and most difficult dive: a forward 2.5 somersault, one-twist pike. She was unable to hold the somersault, which dropped her from medal contention.

Oddly enough, Krug insisted she was completely unaware of her placement until after the tournament.

“I’m just so proud to have made it here, to experience it,” she told the Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic, keeping her emotions in check, to her credit.

“I would want that dive to be better. Of course I would. But I’m so glad I came back. I am. These past couple years have been amazing. These past three weeks here have been awesome. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

At this point, it is uncertain if Krug’s first Olympic appearance will also be her last. Whatever happens, she has boldly gone where no Pittsburgher in her sport has gone before.

LOOKING BEYOND LONDON…

So who will follow in Krug’s footsteps?

The future of U.S. Olympic diving could be quite bright, and if so, western Pennsylvania might have a powerful say in that matter.

Scott Township product Maria Lohman, who, ironically, has been coached by Cassidy Krug’s father, Julian Krug, as a member of the Pitt Aquatic Club, aims to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

But you might also want to keep an eye on University of Arizona standout and unparalleled four-time PIAA champion Samantha Pickens. Pickens, who obliterated the competition en route to district and state gold at Franklin Regional 2007-10, is coming off a sophomore season that saw her put up good numbers at the NCAA Championships, and later reach the finals of this year’s U.S. Olympic Trials.

Admittedly, I can’t speak for Lohman, but I do remember, at a previous job, broadcasting Pickens’ WPIAL coronation in the second year of her historic run. She passes the eye test, and, with a little luck, and a little more experience at a reputable program like the one at Arizona, she could push hard for a ’16 spot.

OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS…

For the female “Dream Team” the drive for five–five consecutive Olympic golds, that is–continues to be a smooth one.

The U.S. women’s basketball squad has dominated group play, which culminated with a milestone 114-66 win over China on Sunday. They tied a 20-year-old team record for single-game output, and set new team records for single-game field goals (52) and assists (33).

Swin Cash, an erstwhile WPIAL champion at McKeesport, made two of five buckets in ten minutes off the bench, also finishing with two rebounds, one block, one turnover, and one personal foul.

Through five games, Cash, in 41 total minutes, has recorded 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, going 5-for-5 at the line. She also has six rebounds–four on offense–two blocks, and one steal.

The U.S., again the top seed, will try for its 39th consecutive Olympic win in the quarterfinal round against Canada, the No. 4 seed, Tuesday at 9:00 A.M. ET.

(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)